Barcelona Test Round-Up - Honda


The Honda Racing F1 Team race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello concluded their pre-season testing programme at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona today. After concentrating on final set-up work in the RA106 car, along with tyre and aero programmes, the two race drivers will now prepare for the first race of the new season.

The Honda Racing F1 Team's final testing session will be completed by third driver Anthony Davidson in Valencia next week. With this week's test programme completed successfully in Barcelona, all three drivers were able to cover significant mileage as the RA106 continues to gain in pace and reliability. The team also took the opportunity to run the latest specification of the RA806E engine.

Rubens and Jenson began the test on Wednesday in the new chassis RA106-04 and chassis RA106-02 respectively. Both drivers spent the morning session running through systems checks whilst waiting for the track to come up to temperature, followed by chassis set-up and aero programmes in the afternoon session. Rubens completed 65 laps over the day, with Jenson running for 87 laps.

The race drivers continued the programme on Thursday with Rubens continuing to develop the set-up of the new chassis followed by a tyre programme in the afternoon session. Jenson completed a series of tyre evaluations over the day, alongside brake and aero programmes. Rubens completed 118 laps, with Jenson totalling 116 laps and setting the fastest time of the day and of this year's testing at Barcelona.

Anthony joined the team on Friday, taking over from Jenson in chassis RA106-02. He spent his early runs finding a good balance in the car before completing a tyre evaluation over long runs, completing an impressive 129 laps today. Rubens continued his programme in chassis RA106-04, again focusing on chassis set-up alongside an aero evaluation. He completed 107 laps setting the second fastest time of the day.

Rubens Barrichello: "It was really good for me to get three days testing in the car this week and the team has done a superb job, particularly with the engine as we were able to cover a lot of kilometres which makes me feel very comfortable going into the first race. I had some issues on Wednesday with the brakes but we were able to resolve this and overall the test was very positive. The pace of the car has been improving every day, along with the reliability and with the amount of laps we can cover, this has given me more time to become familiar with the car. I feel happy with the car and am really looking forward to my first race as a Honda Racing F1 Team driver."

Jenson Button: "I had a good two days of running this week to finish off my winter testing programme. Reliability was once again very strong enabling us to complete a lot of laps, particularly on Thursday when we concentrated on chassis set-up and tyre evaluations. It was nice to finish at the top of the timesheets on my final day in the car before Bahrain. I'm really looking forward to the start of the season and think that we will be competitive although we won't know until we start running in Bahrain where we stand in relation to the
other top teams. It's really exciting to think that the season starts in only two weeks time and I can't wait to start racing again."

Anthony Davidson: "It's been a good day today and my first chance to drive round the Barcelona circuit this year. I concentrated on long tyre runs this morning and completed the work on some set-up evaluations throughout the day. The evident improvements that we've found are encouraging and we have certainly come a long way since I drove the Concept car here back in December which is a great achievement by everyone at the team. The pace of the car gives me confidence that we are looking strong for the first races. We have one final test in Valencia next week to complete the preparations before heading off to Bahrain."

Mark Ellis, Chief Engineer Vehicle Performance "This week has been a very satisfying conclusion to our pre-season preparations with the race drivers. We have completed over 2900km over the three days with excellent reliability and successfully used two of the latest specification RA806E engines to over the target two-race mileage. We have found some positive directions with the chassis set-up today and overall are pleased with the performance in the very cold conditions here. "

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "We were very pleased to run the upgraded engine for the equivalent of two race distances and are now very close to finalising the engine spec for the first race."

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Published: 24/02/2006
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